Sascha Hume, '23
At face value, the morning of September 24, 2021 looked just like any other weekday morning at STA: I got out of my car wearily and trudged into Marriot Hall, where I became part of the throng of boys plodding towards their first-period classes. Only something was a little different about the 24th: every boy I saw walked a little slower, had slightly larger bags under his eyes, and responded just a bit less energetically to my greeting than normally. The culprit? The dreaded X Day, in which all six classes each student is taking meet, albeit for a slightly shorter time. A class meeting means that homework assigned during the previous class will be due that day, and since normal school days are only four or five classes long, X Days involve somewhere around 20 - 50% more work for students the night before. Once the day itself starts, it is a slog from one class to the next, made worse than a normal day by the extra walking between classes and tiredness onset by the previous night’s work. Even lunch starts a little later.
Obviously, X Days are an ordeal, but they make sense to have on certain days for special circumstances. For example, it is good that the first day of school is an X Day so that students can meet all of their new teachers for the first time on the first day. No extra work will be required before class since it is the first day, and the shorter class periods are also fine given that teachers usually do not teach actual course material on the first day. To add insult to injury on the 24th, however, was that the cause of our misery that day was also a source of joy for some on the Close. It was NCS Spirit Day, meaning NCS had no classes and thus, X Day for STA. Now, I have never been to an NCS Spirit Day, and if the members of my NCS English class are to be relied on, it sounds like a great time, but there is something truly painful about scrolling through Instagram after a long day of quizzes and note-taking and seeing post after post reminding you that while you were suffering through all six of your classes, the other half of the Close was throwing a party. It also certainly didn’t help the general mood around the school to know that the STA seniors were off on a retreat, escaping our collective agony.
The point I’m trying to convey is that no one likes X Days (not even teachers), and it's just downright cruel to make us sit through them when we can literally hear shouts and cheers of joy and mirth echoing over from NCS as they enjoy a day off. I propose that if either NCS or STA is holding some sort of schoolwide activity which would cause the other school to have an X Day, the other school should just get the day off. The change would go a long way for the mental health of students at both schools, as well as improving relations between NCS and STA. While it might seem like overkill to cancel school just to avoid having a class or two more, the overall discomfort caused by X Days’ special nature cancels out any learning that might happen. If anyone is still unsure about the nature of X Days, speaking with any student who has lived through one should clear up any doubts.